Inside of the Catena-X automotive market consortium

(SAP’s Hagen Heubach talks Catena-X)

When I 1st read rumblings about SAP’s “automotive alliance” far more than a calendar year back, I was cautious: was this just a intelligent backdoor into a product-centric discuss about Ariba?

But then, I turned intrigued. Through a podcast with my retired colleague Den Howlett, SAP CEO Christian Klein spoke passionately about the initiative. While I’ve had some testy again-and-forth with Klein at times, he is an exec I fork out close interest to.

Then, we have this mysterious March 2021 press launch, Catena-X Automotive Community Picks Up Velocity. I say “mysterious” since there is vagueness right here, this kind of as: “The Catena-X pilot assignments are targeted on 5 regions of application that have been jointly described.” Why would I have desire in a mysterious push release? When was the previous time you observed these kinds of firms banding alongside one another?

The founders of the husband or wife network contain BMW AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, SAP SE, Siemens AG and ZF Friedrichshafen AG.

Additional firms have joined the initiative, such as Mercedes-Benz AG, BASF SE, Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Schaeffler AG, German Edge Cloud GmbH & Co. KG, ISTOS GmbH, SupplyOn AG, the German Aerospace Heart (DLR), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V and ARENA2036, as well as numerous smaller and midsize enterprises (SMEs).

Sure, this has a decidedly German flavor, at least in the early stages, but these styles of alliances are not typical. Then you see:

The Automotive Alliance will run below the title Catena-X Automotive Network (Catena-X). As an implementation-oriented community and to help make sure openness and neutrality, Catena-X ideas to organize itself as a registered association in Germany..

Openness, neutrality, and… business program?

Openness and neutrality – not what you ordinarily see from business application vendors. I believe the future of ERP is not again office, but vertical backbone. That is why marketplace consortiums crafted on open criteria seriously capture my eye:

Catena-X sees itself as an extensible ecosystem in which automotive producers and suppliers, vendor associations and tools suppliers, including the providers of apps, platforms and infrastructure, can all participate equally. The goal of the affiliation is to produce a uniform typical for details and facts-sharing throughout the full automotive worth chain.

But in the summertime/drop, the PR equipment all over Catena-X went peaceful – even though the Catena-X net web-site does have news objects (and a board of administrators listing). Where was the tumble update Klein alluded to in the podcast? Was Catena-X attaining momentum, or, most likely, caught up in regulatory purple tape, or pandemic offer chain distractions? I resolved to locate out.

Soon, I discovered myself on a movie contact with Hagen Heubach, International VP, Business Small business Device Automotive at SAP, and Board Member of the Catena-X Automotive Community. As Heubach informed me, pandemic supply chain pressures, including the notorious chip shortage, are the sparks that ignited Catena-X:

The automotive marketplace is totally beneath transition.

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